Craft

Join Us and Add Suspense to Your Life Story

This Saturday I’m teaching a creative nonfiction workshop in which we’ll make our readers shiver.

Suspense has got to be the biggest challenge to my daily work as a memoirist, but writing suspenseful prose has also been the secret to my success. In fact, writing my essay “Turnpike Psycho,” which was named a Notable Best American Essay for 2015, taught me how much it pays to rely on my MFA training in Fiction. Gorgeous sentences dazzle, efficient paragraphs relieve, but nothing beats snaring your reader with a good tale.

Stories drawn from research and memory tend, by their very nature, to laze around, sprawling and fattening on every pithy fact you find, every telling tidbit you recall. It all seems important. After amassing so much bulk, you stand back and admire the heft of what you’ve wrought. There it stands. So many more pages than you ever thought you could produce!

Then you realize something crucial is missing. It’s just lying there. How can the most dramatic time of your life–else why write about it–so lack tension, uncertainty, thrills, and chills? It needs what John Gardner famously called “profluence,” the smooth and forward motion of a mesmerizing tale.

Together, let’s harness lightning and zap it to life.

In this workshop, I’ll share with you my top-five most electrifying tips for putting the paddles to material that’s exhausted by its own dead weight. We’ll make it strong, swift, and Olympian-lean.

Bring five pages of  your nonfiction with you, particularly anything that feels bulky and stagnant. Bring a lot of blank pages too along with pens and pencils. We’ll take those passages that stand like swamp water and find the alligator lurking in the murk. We’ll get your heart racing in white water rapids.

Saturday August 12, 10AM – 12 PM
Wordier Than Thou Bookstore
5741 75th Ave n, Pinellas park, 33781
Sign up here!

Do you find that the dramatic story of your life somehow loses its drama when you spell it out on the page? Do you struggle to decide how much to tell, when, and how? Award-winning nonfiction writer Lisa Lanser Rose shares trade secrets on how to render the story of your life into a real page-turner!

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